Ani DiFranco did not hold back any of her true colors as a staunch Democrat and an anti-Trump feminist as she utilized the time between songs in her set at Music Hall Of Williamsburg last Friday, to express her post U.S. presidential election ideas and emotions. Older songs in her catalog that she performed such as If He Tries Anything held profound meaning and relevance with the timing of the election. As one of the mellower, finger picking songs it proved to contribute to the peaceful mood and energy of the performance.
To open her set Ani powered into her classic song Not A Pretty Girl. This was a very appropriate choice because of the energetic strumming and attention grabbing full band backup sound. After the song she motioned that there was a Trump protest occurring outside of his Manhattan apartment and she ended this comment with her reflection on the matter. “Good times.” She then explained how she hoped to see us with her at the protest in New York City the following day.
Another set highlight was Gravel, a faster paced and momentum building Ani song that is definitely a fan favorite. It’s not hard for Ani to come up with reasons that she abhors America’s President-Elect. After the song, Ani stepped up to the mic and went on a rant about capitalism, summarizing simply “fuck that shit. Fuck that. It sucks.”
In the grieving days following an election, Ani’s lyrics in Play God hold a lot of meaning and hearing them live made the profundity even stronger “Government, religion it’s all just patriarchy.” Ani is truly concerned that Trump will “get to run the world in (his) special way and that (he’ll) have much more than (his) say.” The party, funky vibe during this song was an extra boost to help Ani’s fans sink into the important political message she’s trying to convey.
Perhaps the most blatant and unashamed political opening to one of her songs, Ani sings “coming of age during the plague of Reagan and Bush” on Your Next Bold Move. The soft, acoustic fingerpicking melody paints the dismal and angry feelings she has for two of America’s bonehead leaders. Between her big stage presence, her animated guitar playing and powerful voice, Ani DiFranco completely cranks up the energy of any room, even if you’re not a die hard fan who’s roaring and stopming after her closing number waiting for the encore. She shows her bold personality through her music and her stage chatter and those are important and key qualities of a successful and accomplished singer/songwriter.
Scott J. Herman